Phillies at Braves: Cole Hamels Welcomes Back Baseball

Phillies at Braves: Cole Hamels Welcomes Back Baseball

There are plenty of familiar faces on the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies. This team still has that feeling of a team you know all too well, with many of the key components of their 2008 World Series run. But as mentioned in our look at the roster earlier today, 15 of the guys suiting up today weren't in the dugout on opening day in 2012.

The first change will be noticeable on the first pitch of the game tonight in Atlanta. Fans should be happy to see Ben Revere and his speed at the top of the order this evening in Charlie Manuel's first lineup of the season. All spring we wondered if he'd stick with Jimmy Rollins as his leadoff man or go with the speedy Revere.

Ruben Amaro Jr. brought in Revere as an affordable, young, high-upside guy this offseason in the hopes of plucking the next Juan Pierre out of Minnesota. Whether that ever comes to fruition remains to be seen. But at least for night one, J-Roll gives up his leadoff spot. That should please many.

While Revere's star qualities remain a question mark, it's the guy at the bottom of the order tonight that makes us feel most confident in the 2013 Phillies. Cole Hamels is your opening day starter. He's got the biggest contract in Philly sports history in his bank account and it's time for him to earn it.

It used to be every fifth day that Roy Halladay took the ball, we expected a win. Now, Cole's the man that makes you feel like the Phillies are the favorites every time he takes the hill, no matter the opponent. Confidence in Cole is high.

The Fightins will get after it with their division rivals right from night one. The Atlanta Braves don't get quite the hype that the Washington Nationals do these days, but with the addition of the Upton brothers, the Braves are many experts picks to get one of the NL wildcard spots, typically at the cost of the Phillies being left out in the cold making golf reservations.

For the first time in a long time the Phillies will have to prove doubters wrong instead of living up to high expectations. It'll be a different mentality for both the players and fans alike.

It's the Phillies 131st season of baseball. We're pretty stoked. Hell, we're even excited to hear Wheels call a meaningful baseball game.

I'm going with 88 wins and a wild card game. It's a long summer. It always is. It starts tonight.

*

Charlie's Lineup: 1. Ben Revere 2. Jimmy Rollins 3. Chase Utley 4. Ryan Howard 5. Michael Young 6. Dom Brown 7. John Mayberry (4-13, 2 HRs vs. Hudson) Jr. 8. Erik Kratz 9. Cole Hamels

Atlanta's Lineup: 1. Andrelton Simmons (SS) 2. Jason Heyward 3. Justin Upton 4. Freddie Freeman 5. B.J. Upton 6. Dan Uggla 7. Chris Johnson 9. Gerald Laird (C) 9. Tim Hudson

Get your predictions on the record in the comments. We'll be here all night talking ball.

7:10 start from Turner Field. PHL17 and ESPN2 on your television. Franzke and LA on the radio on WPHT and WIP.

Fletcher Cox among Eagles not at OTAs; Doug Pederson updates position battles

Fletcher Cox among Eagles not at OTAs; Doug Pederson updates position battles

The Eagles had near-perfect attendance as they kicked off their Organized Team Activities (OTAs) on Tuesday morning, but there were a few notable absences.

Fletcher Cox, Jason Peters and Donnie Jones are not with the team.

"Obviously as you guys know too, it's a voluntary offseason program," head coach Doug Pederson said. "I've been in touch with all three of those guys, so we've communicated for the reasons for them not being here. But no worries with them going forward."

This is the second year in a row that Cox has missed the start of OTAs. Last year, he was waiting on his big contract, which came after the minicamp in June.

Cox, who signed a mega contract less than a year ago, send out an Instagram story on Monday in Philipsburg, Netherlands Antilles.

"The reason is satisfactory, but again it's a voluntary program," Pederson said. "I would love for everybody to be here. That's just me personally, I would love everybody to be here. But I know it's not always going to work out that way.

"Fletcher is one of the leaders on the football team and guys like that, you do expect to be here, but I get the rules, we abide by the rules and he's one of the guys too, at the end of the day, I'm gonna hang my hat on and go to war with."

As far as the guys who are with the Eagles this week, Pederson revealed some of the starters at positions in question (see OTA storylines).

Second-year guard Isaac Seumalo will begin OTAs as the team's starting left guard, taking Allen Barbre's place. Pederson did say Barbre is getting over a calf injury.

"This gives [Seumalo] an opportunity to work in there so we can get Allen," the head coach said. "Allen's a guy, as you guys know, one of those versatile offensive linemen who can play guard and tackle, so when we get Allen back we want to work him not just at guard but also at tackle."

Jason Kelce, who has been the center of plenty of rumors and whispers this offseason, is still going to take first-team reps at center, while Stefen Wisniewski and Seumalo will also get some reps at center.

And second-year player Jalen Mills and free agent pickup Patrick Robinson will start the camp running with the ones at corner (see players to watch at OTAs).

This first round of OTAs runs three days: May 23-25.

The Rockies Twitter account tweeted whole game in 'Rocky' quotes

The Rockies Twitter account tweeted whole game in 'Rocky' quotes

If you watched Monday night's Phillies loss at the hands of the Colorado Rockies, you probably weren't very entertained -- unless you're a Rockies fan.

But if you followed the game on Twitter and happen to follow the Rockies' account, you may have been slightly more entertained.

Slightly.

They tried something we haven't seen from an opposing team just yet. They tweeted throughout the game using only quotes from the Rocky movie franchise.

Now, you can debate how successful of a move this was but you have to at least give them some points for creativity. And it's not like this was a playoff game with high stakes. This was a relatively boring Monday night game in the middle of May.

You can read our recap of the Phillies' 8-1 loss right here. Or here's how the night transpired on Twitter: